The attorney-general’s office and the office of the Dewan Rakyat speaker are being used to delay the reconvening of Parliament, says opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.
Yesterday, Attorney-General Idrus Harun said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong must act on the advice of the Cabinet on when Parliament can reopen, after the Agong had earlier stated it should happen “as soon as possible”.
Citing Article 40(1) and (1A) of the Federal Constitution, Idrus said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong must act on the advice of the Cabinet “unless otherwise stated”.
Idrus went on to say that while Article 55(1) of the Federal Constitution empowered the Agong to call for Parliament to reconvene, the emergency ordinance overruled this provision during the period the emergency was in force.
The PKR president said Idrus’ statement flew in the face of the wishes of the Agong and his fellow Malay Rulers, and could drag the country into a constitutional crisis.
“The constitution states the declaration of emergency and the emergency ordinance must be debated and voted on in Parliament.
“The failure of the Perikatan Nasional government to respect Parliament has put Malaysia in danger of a constitutional crisis.
“Why does convening a Parliament sitting seem so laborious and difficult when factories, restaurants and now several state legislative assemblies are starting to operate?” he said in a statement on Facebook.
He said the law, in this case the Federal Constitution, was being applied “arbitrarily” in order to protect the “illegitimate” Perikatan Nasional-led government.
“The legitimacy of any head of government in any democratic system depends on his ability to enjoy the confidence of the majority of MPs. If the government has no legitimacy, then it is a waste of time to talk about any provisions in the constitution.
“For this government to gain legitimacy, including obtaining a royal decree, they must prove their majority support in Parliament.
“If not, then it shows that this government is not serious about accountability and the country will be under a dictatorial system.
“History has seen many dictators take advantage of times of crisis to advance their evil agendas at the expense of the state and the law.”
Anwar said Malaysia’s record in handling the pandemic ranks among the worst in the world, adding that while it is not too late to reverse the country’s fortunes, the reopening of Parliament must be the first step.
The debate on when Parliament can sit has raged since the statement from the palace calling for its speedy reopening on June 16.
Yesterday, Dewan Rakyat speaker Azhar Azizan Harun and Dewan Negara president Rais Yatim proposed a special meeting be held in early August or September to discuss how a hybrid Parliament sitting could take place. – FMT